Hey Fam! As many of you already know, our third baby was born exactly three weeks ago. I wanted to introduce you to Lucas Ethan, born on February, 2, 2018 at 6 am and share our Labor and Delivery experience third time around via a cesarean.
The night before I could not sleep thanks to all my mixed emotions and anxiety and nor could baby daddy. We dropped off the kids at the grandparent's house then came back home and just chilled, finally hitting us that things are getting REAL and we're having a BABY in a few hours. We figured we might as well pull an all-nighter since we had to be at the hospital at 3:30 am for a scheduled cesarean at 5:30 am. I LOVED the super early timing this time around.
We headed to the hospital and once admitted, the ball got rolling fast with all the exams, preparations, IV, questionnaires, etc. The next thing I knew, I was handed the surgery mesh cap and was asked to walk towards the operation room (OR). Baby daddy had to stay behind, wear his OR attire and once I received my spinal, he would be able to come into the OR. The room was so cold and I was shivering the entire time; that didn't help with the spinal injection as I moved around a bit prolonging the procedure. But, everything proceeded as expected and my husband was finally reunited with me.
Soon after all the uncomfortable pressure and tugging feeling of the cesarean operation, I finally heard the baby cry and the doctor announced it was a BOY! Ahhh the sweetest and most heart-warming sound ever!!! Shortly after the normal baby procedures, I could sense something was not right, overhearing the nurses talk about the baby and how his cry was not clear and all. And, I got even more worried when my husband did not bring the baby by me like he had done with our previous children. I knew something was wrong. I felt it in my mama heart. The vibe in the room went from hearing the sweetest cry and happy tears to nurses running around and rushing to get the baby to NICU. I was so clueless and felt so alone. Nobody was communicating with me. Having just had a baby taken out of me to not hold or breastfeed is the worst feeling in the world. While on the operation table, I broke down and just cried, feeling so helpless, but I remember telling my husband to GO with the baby and not leave his sight. He handed my iPhone to me and rushed out with the baby and staff.
Half-hour later, in the recovery room, where I am supposed to be with my baby and breastfeeding him, I was left alone, without a baby. While the nurses were checking me every few minutes I was too busy texting my husband back and forth frantically trying to get answers. But, he had no answers as they were still checking the baby down in NICU. However, my nurses who were also in the OR with me kept telling me baby is okay and what he appears to have is very common. It turned out, while he was taken out of the womb, he had taken some fluid in, therefore had fluid in his lungs, also known as Transient Tachypnea. For that reason, his breathing was faster than normal and oxygen level was a tad off. And, due to all of this, his sugar level was low. When I finally heard from my husband, I could hear the fear in his voice and while I felt alone in the recovery room, he felt alone on his end. He told me they had gone through lots of trouble getting the IV into his tiny little body. After 20 pokes and 5 nurses trying to get the IV in, my husband directed them to stop poking him immediately.
I know at this point my husband was arguing with the NICU staff for their lack of professionalism and incompetence. This baby, OUR baby, having been born within the hour felt like he was now the hospital's ginny pig to be tested and administered on. Well, obviously plan A (the IV) failed, the NICU nurses introduced plan B to my husband. This new plan consisted of inserting the IV through his belly button called Umbilical Vein Catheterization and while doing this procedure they would have to take an x-ray of his abdomen to make sure the catheter was being inserted into the right organ. Like what? Seriously? All because nobody could get the freakin IV in and now this invasive procedure on our 1 hour old baby? They kept saying this is "normal and common" but to us it was invasive and brutal. Just the way they were explaining everything was not in the right manner. And, the best part of it all, the staff kept telling us (my husband) that the fluid in his lungs would eventually be absorbed by the body and by peeing and pooping it out. So, why the need for all these procedures if it's so common and normal? Why the need for NICU? Sounds to me everything would've been resolved on its own anyways. Only if they would have just placed our baby on me to breastfeed to normalize the sugar levels. And, there would have been no need to poke him for IV as nature would have taken its coarse. And, the staff seemed as though they were operating based off of assumptions. There was no proof that the baby had water in his lungs or a "hole" in his lungs as one of the staff had newly predicted. A hole in his lungs? Again, no proof. So, being stuck between a rock and a hard place, we wanted proof and did not want to refuse something and then having to leave the hospital in a few days with bigger complications. After talking it through with our trusted OBGYN, my husband and I decided to go through with the Umbilical Vein Catheterization and x-ray. We were assured and reassured that there were no side effects. I was eating myself alive in the recovery room and was wishing I could at least be next to my baby.
A couple of hours later, after everything was said and done, my postpartum room was ready and as the nurses were rolling my bed there, I had told them that I needed to see my baby. As we entered the NICU, tears had already started falling down, and even more so after meeting my baby for the first time. Seeing him in the incubator with tubes in his nose, mouth and the umbilical catheter was just so daunting and scary to observe. The nurse shared the results from the x-rays which showed there was a tad bit of fluid in his lungs (which could've been cleared on its own - although would've taken longer) but no hole in his lungs as one of the other incompetent nurses had predicted. I just wanted to get him out and take him with me. I felt the loneliest I've ever felt in my entire life. I know things could've been worse. But, in that moment, you don't think ahead or see straight. Your emotions and feelings take over the situation - just can't help it. I wasn't upset at the fact that our baby had to be closely monitored or the fact that he had some complications. But, just the way the whole experience was rushed and impolite on behalf of the hospital staff threw us off guard. Things could've been a lot better had the staff been polite and professional explaining everything. And, there is no room for assumptions and predictions in the medical field. What if our baby was misdiagnosed based on assumptions? What if he had been given the wrong treatment?
Back in my postpartum room, I was busy pumping breastmilk, or colostrum, to take to the NICU. My goal was to pump as much as I could squeeze out to get our son drink my liquid gold and be discharged from NICU. So, the more feedings he could take, the less IV they pumped into him, and thus slowly got him off of the rest of the other tubes. After very long 36 hours, he was off of everything and had been discharged from NICU. My red puffy eyes from all the crying now was filled with happy tears. I held my son in my arms for the first time which felt like an eternity. Immediately put him on my chest, skin to skin. We had so much to catch up on. I missed the first 36 hours of his life. That night I could not sleep. I stared at him all night and apologized for everything he went through. Seeing all the needle sized dots on his body from all the poking made me tear up. Part of me felt guilt but at the same time I know we did our best. We fought to speed up the process and were keeping the NICU staff on their toes - constantly monitoring our son, and questioning their every move. Thanks to the NICU video access that parents have, we monitored our son like a couple of hawks.
When I look back at the situation, having done the research now after the fact, I just think to myself that we could've refused the NICU services and let nature taken its course. But, at the same time, I feared all the "what ifs". I am someone who loves natural methods and tries to resolve an issue the natural way first, but also a believer of modern medicine. So, in this case, we had no time to choose the natural route since time was running out and our son needed food in his system right away. He needed the food first to help normalize his sugar level then as he pooped and peed out the fluid from the lungs, his breathing and thus oxygen would normalize.
Wow! What an experience. It was definitely a scare. The hospital staff made the entire situation sound and look much worse than it was. They can get very political about things and tell you the worst case of a situation. But, I'm just so glad that we got home safe and sound and all of this is now behind us. We're enjoying this newborn bliss every second we get and soaking up these precious infant moments one last time. Lucas is the sweetest and most precious thing alive. I feel so lucky and blessed. Thank you for surprising us, baby Lucas! You are the best Hawaiian souvenir ever. HAHA!